A visit to Edinburgh is not complete without a visit to the castle or so they say. We tourists buy this phrase completely and as a result the entrance to the castle is an cacophony of different languages queuing in a long snaking line from the tickets to the first gate. Even in the lower season like today with nice sunny weather the waiting time increases to about half an hour plus.
After this one enters the castle. Having seen a number of castles over the least few weeks we are no longer easily impressed, but it is definately a fortress. For the mightely sum of £16 a person one does get a free guide tour (for the audio guide one has to pay extra unlike in Stirling) . Now a guided tour is always fun. Simply because any questions can be answered and if one is lucky the guide is funny. We were in luck. David our tour leader made a nice spectacle of it and we had a great time listening to the tour which does take around 40 minutes.
After that we went to the tea rooms to have some tea and coffee, with something nice of course. The tea rooms are very nice and it took us a wee while to pull ourselves out of there. We went to all the halls. Queued in the long line of people wanting to see the Scottish crown jewels (very pretty) and decided that this was a little massive. By that stage is was nearly 13.00 and we as any good tourist would do around that time in the castle lined up near the canon which is fired from the castle every day at that time. Mighty bang it is and after the bang everybody goes about their merrily castle discovery tour again.
SO and I found the area most hidden – where they kept the prisoners. Actually not very bad places at all given that we’ve also seen the prisoner pit at Dunvegan. You were most certainly better of being a POW at Edinbugh castle than on the bad side of MacLeod on Skye.
After that we had enough. We did stop at the tartan weaving place next to the entrance and found it a strange mixture of a weaving mill and a total tourist trap. Mind you the whole top part of the royal mile to the castle is not a great place. SO and I were not impressed by the quality of the souvenir shops there. Just one notch up from the lowest mark for me. Cheap, nasty and abundant stuff at sky rocketing prices. Sorry Edinburgh, but that is not a good advertisement spot for the city. I found it off putting.
We then had a proper picknick. We got sandwiches from M&S and ate them in the Princess street garden. We intended to go to see the Exhibition at the Scottish national gallery, but the weather was too nice and instead we stayed outside in the sun. We did go into the gallery for about an hour and saw their own collection, which is quite impressive. They have a room full of Dutch masters, most of them known to us. Some because we really know them and some because we recognise them as street names. At 17.00 we were thrown out (well we were kindly asked to make our way to the exit) and after a little search we found a cute little Italian restaurant with absolutely great food at a decent price.
Once back at the B&B SO drew me a bath and we did watch the great British Bake off. Tomorrow is my birthday, we’ll see what that will bring